[Dixielandjazz] Website value followup.

Thu Mar 11 17:38:49 PST 2004

My questioning of the effectiveness of websites for bands and clubs
generated a flurry of dissenting comments.  Most of them cited anecdotal
instances of wedding gigs generated or trips made more enjoyable.

No argument that websites CAN generate some interest.  My argument (point,
rather) was that, compared to equal effort and money spent on other
advertising, they don't give much bang for the buck.

Since we're into anecdotes, I'll cite one.  The Basin Street Regulars (Pismo
Beach) at one time had about 1000 members, pretty phenomenal for such a
small, off-the-beaten-path town.  We placed ads for our Jubilees By The Sea
in various jazz publications, but we had NEVER run an ad in local newspapers
for our monthly concerts, featuring cream of the crop trad bands.  I finally
convinced a pessimistic Board that we should spend a pittance on one 3" ad
in a couple of papers.  So we could evaluate response, I included a
sentence, "Bring this ad for $5 admission."  (Actually, at that time
non-member admission was 5 bucks anyway!)  The number of ads turned in at
the door generated just as much additional revenue as the ads cost, so they
were essentially free!  I'm sure the ad-bearers spent a few bucks on drinks
and raffle tickets, too.  Maybe some of those newcomers joined the club
after their visit, but we didn't follow up to get a statistic.  Despite what
I considered was a rousingly successful  experiment, the club has never
again placed an ad!

I spent well over 40 hours designing our first website, and I'd guess K.O.
spent something over 140 hours creating the present one.  I spent maybe an
hour designing the newspaper ad, and it didn't cost the club a dime.  My
whole point is that some efforts produce more bang for the buck, and
websites aren't very efficient and time/effort-effective.  Some guy in
Chicago may be going to vacation in Pismo and drop in on us as a result of
the site, but I don't consider that worth all the creative effort expended.

Incidentally, one of the objections to advertising in local papers was,
"Hey, we fill the hall at practically every monthly concert, so why try to
attract new members?"  Not many clubs are lucky enough to be in the BSR's
position!  My (unspoken) response to that objection was, "Yes, and at our
membership's average age, we lose about 50 members per year to old age,
infirmaties, death, and moving."

Summing up: Advertise, Yes.  But Wisely!

Bill Horton

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